Birthday book: Zatanna’s Search

July 9, 2009

The Comics Reporter notes that today is the 83rd birthday of Murphy Anderson, one of the great Silver Age illustrators and inkers whose work I associate most closely with DC. My favorite comics drawn by Anderson, or at least the ones that jump immediately to mind, are The Brave and the Bold 61 and 62, which featured a team-up between Earth 2 stalwarts Starman and Black Canary (or “Black Canary I,” I guess). I remember reading them at a friend’s house; he was much more of a DC guy than I was, but I vaguely knew and liked Black Canary and had enjoyed the JLA-JSA team-ups that I’d read.

Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find any indication that these comics have ever been collected anywhere. I do remember a reference to them in James Robinson’s Starman comic, where the author revealed that the heroes were teaming up in the chicka-bamp sense as well as in the crime-fighting sense. Anyway, they Brave and Bold issues were wonderfully drawn and featured an unlikely but successful pairing of B-list heroes, so I was naturally inclined to like them.

zatannaqNever fear, though. DC has collected at least one example of Anderson drawing a second-tier, fishnet-wearing heroine in its JLA: Zatanna’s Search trade paperback. (For bonus points, the collection also includes comics drawn by Gil Kane, Carmine Infantino and other luminaries.) The story is fairly simple: Zatanna’s father, Zatara, is missing. In the process of looking for him, she guest-stars in a bunch of other heroes’ comics, and they help her.

I should note that my first encounter with Zatanna was during the ponytail-and-elf-shoes period when she joined the Justice League, and it was many years before I actually encountered the fishnet-wearing version of the character. Maybe it was the elf boots, but I really didn’t care for Zatanna during her early JLA days. Had I been reading DC comics when these stories originally appeared, I might have been more enthusiastic about her admission to the League, if only to hope that she’d return to her original costume.

Anderson’s work has also been collected in a number of those too-rich-for-my-blood DC Archives books and probably in some of the cheaper, black-and-white Showcase Presents… paperbacks.

Sunday on the web with Viz

July 9, 2009

shosuncoverI’m guessing that the recent flurry of press releases from Viz is some kind of pre-San Diego warm-up routine to prevent cramping during panels. The one that’s really caught my eye is the announcement of another imprint, Shonen Sunday. The full release is below, but here’s the nut paragraph:

“[Viz] has announced the launch of a brand new imprint, SHONEN SUNDAY. Featuring the works of some of the top shonen manga creators in the world today, the Shonen Sunday magazine in Japan provides the content for this imprint. The magazine recently celebrated its 50th anniversary since its first issue arrived on newsstands in March of 1959.”

Here’s the Wikipedia entry on the parent magazine from Shogakukan, and here’s the magazine’s Japanese web site. It joins Viz’s Shonen Jump imprint, which features manga from Shueisha, which co-owns Viz with Shogakukan and probably wanted its own brand. It also allows Viz to brand some of its homeless shônen titles.

With the demise of Viz’s Shojo Beat magazine, speculation and wishful thinking have turned once again towards the possibility of Viz creating an online presence or anthology featuring manga for girls. I think that would be great, and while Viz still as the Shojo Beat imprint, the prospect motivated me to throw together a quick poll.

Edited: Posted too early, as I meant to add links to the listed magazines: Ribon (official), Margaret (official), Cookie (official), Betsucomi (official), Ciao (official). If you have another choice, please note it in the comments, and I’ll add related links.

Edited again to add other anthologies of choice, without regard to whether or not they’re published by either of Viz’s co-owners: Hana to Yume from Hakusensha (official), LaLa from Hakusensha (official), Princess from Akita Shoten (official), flowers from Shogakukan…

And, as promised, here’s the release:

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